On 9 April, a new parliament will be elected in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister from the nationalist Likud party, has to face corruption charges. In order to hold on to power, Netanyahu is trying to lean on the support of several far-right parties. At the same time, Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, a more moderate and liberal, but still nationalist alliance is leading the polls.

On 3 December, 20,000 people in Tel Aviv protested against violence towards women. The protests followed the murder of two girls – Silvana Tsegai, 12, and Yara Ayoub, 16. This year, 24 girls and women were murdered in Israel, which is a sharp increase compared to the years before. For days, protests were going on and a women‘s strike was called for the following day.

A lot of fuss is being made about what one can and cannot say about the state of Israel. Especially virulent is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called “anti-semitism” in Britain. In reality this is a blatant attempt to silence any criticism of Israel and its discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people. In light of all this, Francesco Merli looks at the new law that openly discriminates against Palestinians living in Israel, officially reducing them to the status of second-class citizens.

The spectacle of celebrations for the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday 14 May stood in stark contrast with the bloodshed in Gaza, where on the same day, 59 Palestinian demonstrators were killed and more than 2,700 injured by Israeli snipers. As we stated in a previous article, the mass resistance movement by Palestinians in Gaza for the right of return for the Palestinian refugees of 1948, and against the 12-year-blockade by Israel, has been growing despite the harshest repression by the Israeli Army.

While the attention of the international media is drawn to the threatened US airstrike on Syria, the Palestinian mobilisations for the right of return of refugees and the ruthless killing of demonstrators by the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) in the Gaza Strip continues.

Recent allegations of corruption against Benjamin Netanyahu have sparked a backlash and his position looks more vulnerable than ever. Netanyahu is one of Israel’s longest-serving prime ministers has been in power for two non-consecutive periods totalling over 11 years. Throughout this time his career and reputation have been repeatedly tarnished by controversy and corruption. In fact, his first premiership ended with an electoral defeat (1999) which was marred by a host of corruption allegations. Israeli Police recommended that he be indicted on two separate occasions, first in 1997 then again in 1999, however he avoided sentence due to lack of evidence.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump declared that he would officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This reveals the real nature of the so-called peace talks. In a speech delivered at the White House, Trump said, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Over the past few weeks international media have reported on growing tensions and daily violence escalating in Palestine and Israel, but they have focussed mainly on the spate of desperate knife attacks by Palestinian youth randomly targeting ordinary Israelis while waiting at bus stops, transiting in public spaces or walking on the streets of Jerusalem and other towns.

In scenes reminiscent of the huge #blacklivesmatter protests in Baltimore, thousands of Ethiopian Jews have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv and Haifa to protest against the brutal treatment regularly meted out by the police against their community. At the end of April, a shocking video emerged which appeared to show two Israeli police officers savagely beating Ethiopian soldier Damas Fekade in an unprovoked attack.

After six weeks of frantic horse-trading, and with hours to go before a constitutional deadline, the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu has cobbled together a new coalition in Israel. It means that Netanyahu will cling to power with a bare majority of 61 seats in a Knesset of 120 members. The coalition includes all the disparate parties of the right, including the extreme right wing Jewish Home Party, representing the West Bank settlers’ movement. This party will have the ministry of justice and deputy defence minister, among other positions, all of which will be manipulated to enhance and promote Jewish rights and freedoms at the expense of Arabs.

With a defiant right-wing turn promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in power, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has managed to overturn unfavourable opinion polls at the last minute and emerge as the winner of the Israeli elections on Tuesday. His appeal was aimed - and successfully so - at rallying the right wing around his figure and "firm" leadership by appealing once again to the historically deeply rooted fears of ordinary Israeli citizens over external threats to Israel. What are going to be the consequences of his victory within Israel and internationally?

Yesterday, the Israeli army embarked on a ground offensive into Gaza. Journalists on the ground have described the initial stages of the land invasion, recounting scenes of terror as Gaza is pounded by tank, cannons, airstrikes and missiles fired from Israeli warships off the coast. Israeli forces are bombing Gaza from the air, sea, and land.

A storm of bombs and fire grotesquely denominated “Operation Protective Edge” has been unleashed by the Israeli government on the civilian population of Gaza. Over the last days more than 400 tonnes of high potential bombs have hit targets within the densely populated Gaza Strip, killing at least 100 civilians, including many children, and injuring hundreds.

On the occasion of the death of Ariel Sharon we here republish an article we first published in 2006.

As once more the never ending “peace” talks continue between the Palestinians, the US, and Israel, third generation Palestinians still keep the keys of long demolished Palestinian homes in what is now the State of Israel. From this is it not obvious that the Palestinians will never accept any agreement that will not include their right of return to the land of their forebears.

President Obama’s recent visit to Israel and the ‘Palestinian Territories’ has proved to be another abject failure in an obscene diplomacy being flaunted by US imperialism to end the conflict in the region. The only thing this visit brought to the fore is the sheer weakness of Obama and his policy of appeasing Zionist hawks as well as the US right. During the visit he reiterated over and over again that the USA was the best ally Israel could have and Washington would continue to support Israel come what may. In short, it was a high-profile visit by yet another US president with the same old failed message. In many ways, this visit was an endorsement for the Zionist state to continue its belligerent policies of occupation and repression of the Palestinian masses.

Less than a year ago, “King Bibi”, as the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had become known, had an almost absolute majority in the polls and all other parties, one after another, were entering into crisis. The recent elections show a very different picture: polarisation to the right and the left.

Gaza was once again up in flames this week. The brutal aggression of the reactionary Israeli state, killing and maiming hundreds of Palestinians, including women and children, once again lays bare the draconian nature of the Zionist elite and the vicious role of this imperialist outpost in the Middle East. Coming nearly four years after Israel’s murderous  “Operation Cast Lead” assault on Gaza, Israel’s military launched another deadly attack, this time dubbed “Pillar of Defence,” on November 14, 2012. Like “Cast Lead”, this operation took place just a few weeks before Israeli elections scheduled for January 2013. Israeli governments have a longstanding political tradition of launching military attacks to divert their voters’ attention from the country’s social and economic troubles. This new assault on the besieged people of Gaza is also partly due to this sinister strategy.

On the morning of November 15, Israel carried out the extrajudicial killing of Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari. This act sparked off a new and deadly conflict between Israel and Gaza. This whole affair has all the hallmarks of a premeditated provocation.

Last week, a massive wave of protests rocked the Occupied West Bank. This time, the protests were not aimed at Israeli oppression, but against the corrupt leaders of the Palestinian Authority.

On Saturday 3rd September, the Israeli masses unequivocally announced that they would not allow themselves to be sidetracked and divided by the ruling class’ old trick of divide and rule, nor would they allow their movement to run out of steam in the summer heat, as half a million came out onto the streets to demand social justice and revolution.

The social protest movement in Israel, after a hiatus, is now planning to gather one million people in Tel Aviv on September 3. The ruling class is certainly worried by this prospect and the Israeli railways have announced that they will shut down train services between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and between Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva, supposedly for "for maintenance work". Clearly this is a manoeuvre to try and weaken the mobilisations that are being prepared.

Incredible scenes in Tel Aviv. On Saturday, August 7, over 300,000 took to the streets of a city with a population of less than half a million. Other demonstrations also took place on Saturday, with 30,000 gathering in Jerusalem, and thousands gathering in other cities across the country. The total figure of demonstrators is difficult to estimate, but it could be anything between 400,000 and half a million, in a country of 7.7 million inhabitants. Amongst the familiar demands for “social justice”, a number of banners could be seen bearing the slogan, “Resign, Egypt is here.” Tellingly, resign was written in Arabic.

The latest news coming out of Israel is that municipal workers across the country have declared a one-day general strike in support of the wave of protests sweeping Israel, taking place today [Monday, August 1]. This is a hugely significant step, as it begins to link Israel’s powerful industrial labour movement with the political demands of the wider youth and working-class, something which has not happened on a large scale for decades.

The scathing remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Barak Obama for suggesting that the ‘two state solution’ should be based upon the pre-1967 borders, just before boarding the plane to Washington for a state visit, exposed the diplomatic weakness of the imperialist leaders.

The revolutionary wave sweeping through the Middle East has acquired a new dimension with the eruption of the Palestinian masses along Israel's borders last weekend. Every 15 May, Palestinians commemorate the Nakba (catastrophe) of the declaration of independence of the state of Israel on 15 May 1948. In recent years, protests have been marked by clashes between Israeli security forces and stone-throwing Palestinian youths, but yesterday was the first time the commemorations took on a more widespread and militant character. 

Consumer boycotts have been raised as a way of putting pressure on the Zionist Israeli authorities to cease their inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people and grant them their own state. History shows that such boycotts don’t actually achieve anything concrete. But recently we have witnessed another type of boycott, a workers’ boycott, carried out by dockers and transport workers who have refused to handle Israeli goods. That is much more of a threat to the Israeli government.

The barbaric Israeli Defence Force attack on the aid flotilla trying to break the embargo on Gaza is a clear indication of the growing crisis within Israeli society. The old ideology that held together Israeli society, Labour Zionism, has broken down, as capitalism in this small country can no longer guarantee the Jewish workers the basic social reforms of the past.

Since the Israeli attack on the flotilla that was attempting to get supplies into Gaza a couple of weeks there have been attempts by Israeli sources to falsify what really happened, but this is easily exposed for what it is, as this article points out. Also worth noting is the workers’ boycott of Israeli goods organised by Swedish and Norwegian dockers.

In the middle of the night of the 31st of May, 64 km off the coast, Israeli commandos rappelled down from helicopters onto the 6 ship flotilla. Activists say they boarded the ships firing. The Israeli government decided to use deadly force to maintain their blockade of the Gaza strip, provoking waves of protest. These events have exposed the policy of Israeli imperialism to the masses everywhere: Gaza is a ghetto, kept in starvation conditions, and no one may interfere. This will have effects across the world, even in Israel itself.

The Israeli military is introducing orders that allow for the deportation of so-called "infiltrators", defined as anyone who does not hold an Israeli permit to reside in the West Bank. Mordechai Peargut sent us this comment from Israel.

Until very recently very few people had heard of Anat Kamm outside Israel, and even inside the country there has been a tight press censorship imposed on her case. But now the facts have started leaking out. Kamm is accused of leaking secret military documents that allegedly endanger Israel state security. The truth is that what she seems to have revealed is the criminal activity of many of Israel’s top army officers.

The Palestinians have a right to their own homeland and this is something Marxists unconditionally defend. But how is this to be achieved? The idea of a blanket boycott of Israel has been raised. In this article the authors raise the idea that treating the whole of the Israeli Jewish population as one reactionary bloc is counter-productive. Much better a trade union based selective boycott that distinguishes the ruling Zionist elite from ordinary working people in Israel.

Abnaa elBalad Political Activists, Mohammed Kannaneh and Majed Kannaneh, Detained for 54 Days under Inhuman Conditions in GSS Wing of Israeli Police Detention Center - District Court Refused to Grant an Immediate Remedy - Detainees on Hunger Strike

 

Yesterday (27.5.2004), the "Haaretz" informed us of what our readers knew weeks ago. Namely that Dahlan [The former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security forces in the Gaza Strip] is working with Sharon to establish an Israeli governed council once Israel withdraws from Gaza, that the PA and Hamas leadership accept it and the rulers of the Arab ruling class have given it its blessings. When we wrote shortly after Rantisi's assassination that this was the plan I assume that some of our readers may have been sceptical. Yet this is exactly what the Israeli bourgeoisie's mouthpiece is confirming:

The crimes of the Zionist ruling class in Israel against the Palestinian people have been rightly condemned by all progressive and left people around the world. However, there are reactionary right-wing elements that try to exploit this to push an anti-Semitic agenda. Genuine socialists reject both Zionism and anti-Semitism. The solution to ethnic and national conflicts is to be found in the class struggle and socialism. We publish this contribution on the question from a Jewish Marxist living in Israel.

We have received this letter, originally written in Hebrew, from a Palestinian, addressed to the masses of Israel. Although we do not agree with every point of this letter, we publish it as it shows that even in the midst of the terrible barbarism unleashed by the Zionist state, there are Palestinians who can see the class differences on both sides of the divide and see a solution in the working people on both sides uniting against the common enemy.

Since Nir Barkat was elected mayor of Jerusalem last November, a sharp increase has been noted in the destruction of homes in East Jerusalem. He has ordered the destruction of 34 homes and plans to demolish 90 more. The international labour movement must condemn these barbaric acts.

The student leader, Sefi Samueloff has written to us to inform us that Samieh Jabbarin and Ibrahim Machajne have been put under house arrest, as they await trial, for which there is no date. He also thanks Marxist.com for publishing the appeal.

We have been contacted by a student leader in Israel, asking us to protest about the arrest of Samieh Jabbarin of the Abnaa elBalad movement and hundreds of Palestinian youth. We publish here the letter appealing for help together with a brief article explaining the situation.

Those responsible for the massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza have turned this to their advantage in the national elections, exploiting the fear of ordinary people in Israel. The new government will have to be a coalition of reactionary parties like the previous one but will prove to be totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of ordinary working people in Israel. What is required is class based politics.

Last week an unofficial strike broke out on the railways in Israel, paralysing the network for one day. The strike was called by an unofficial union, which the courts quickly moved against. In spite of this it gives a taste of what is to come once the Israeli workers begin to move decisively in defense of their own class interests.

As the dust settled over Gaza, the scale of the devastation became clear, with much of Gaza's infrastructure in ruins, with power stations, water networks and sewage systems destroyed; homes, mosques and even schools reduced to rubble. Although Israel severely weakened Hamas militarily, the hatred that it has instilled into the Palestinian masses is only preparing even bigger problems in the future.

The so-called Peace Process is dead. It will be not be revived until the Israeli army has done its bloody work in Gaza thoroughly. Ultimately, both Jews and Arabs must have the right to live in peace and control their own destinies in a homeland of their own. It is easy to state this aim, but not so easy to say how it can be achieved. In the concluding part of his article Alan Woods shows the relation between war and revolution and explains that the prior condition for solving the Palestinian question is the overthrow of the reactionary Arab regimes in the Middle East.

Just over one year after the Annapolis Conference that was supposed to produce a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, the Israeli ruling class has concentrated all its military might to pulverise Gaza. Once again the Middle East is engulfed in the flames of war. Alan Woods explains the reasons for Israel's invasion of Gaza and analyses the wider implications for relations between the powers in the Middle East and on a world scale.

We are publishing here two leaflets against the war in Gaza. Click here to download the leaflet produced by Socialist Appeal in Britain and here for the flyer of Socialist Appeal in the U.S. Download, print and distribute widely!

A statement of the Iranian Marxists on the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, that explains the need to build a genuine Marxist leadership throughout the Middle East in opposition to the Zionist regime in Israel, the reactionary Arab regimes, and also Islamic fundamentalist movements that offer no real way out to the masses.

We have received this interesting comment from a Marxist in Israel, who looks at the logic behind the Israeli attack on Gaza, how it is being used for domestic political interests in Israel, the chauvinism whipped up by the mainstream media, but also the voices of protest from within Israel, which although relatively small at this stage can grow later. He also looks at the role of Hamas and its inability to solve any of the problems facing the Palestinian masses.

Two years after the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces indiscriminately slaughtered over a thousand Lebanese civilians in the quaintly-titled Operation Just Reward, Israel has turned its attention to Gaza, in the form of Operation Cast Lead. Stripped of its innocuous-sounding name, this operation becomes a lot less palatable: according to Palestinian medical sources, nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed, including numerous women and children. Israel’s targets have included police stations (which are unsurprisingly situated in densely-populated areas), the headquarters of a Hamas-owned satellite television channel, and the Islamic University, Gaza’s only higher education institution.

The recent municipal elections in Tel Aviv, although won by the right wing, produced a massive swing to the Israeli Communist Party (ICP), which gained 35% of the vote. Jewish and Arab workers, Jewish and Arab youth, voted massively for the ICP. In the commercial, industrial and financial centre of Israel, in the biggest city in the country a radical left mood is brewing among the workers and youth.

Three years have passed since Israel's disengagement from Gaza. This article draws a critical  balance sheet of these events and  explains why the Israeli left and many others internationally were so wrong in regarding Sharon's decision as a step towards peace in the region. The choice to pull-out from Gaza, on the contrary, served the strategic interests of the Israeli ruling class.

Hamas has reached an agreement whereby they will cease rocket attacks across the border from Gaza and Israel will lift the economic blockade. Hamas however, must now police Gaza for the Israeli state, making sure no one carries out attacks. The Hamas leaders are going down the same road as the PLO leaders before them.

Israel has recently renewed "peace" talks with Syria. The problem is that on the crucial question of the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, Israel cannot afford to grant this demand and Asad cannot sign an agreement without such a concession. That explains the lack of enthusiasm of the Israeli masses.

On the 14th May 1948 the state of Israel was proclaimed independent. The immediate results were an outbreak of killings and the creation of huge numbers of Israeli and Palestinian refugees. Palestinians refer to it as the naqba (catastrophe). Luke Wilson explains how Israel has become a bulwark of imperialism, what it has meant for the politics of the Middle East, for Israeli Jews and Palestinians, and how the creation of Israel has perpetuated anti-semitism elsewhere.

Recently there was a protest in Tel Aviv - of both Jews and Arabs - against a reunion of Etzel, one of the terrorist Zionist groups used against the Arab population in the process of the formation of the state of Israel. In the "only democracy in the Middle East" these peaceful demonstrators were brutally manhandled by the police.

After the defeat of the Israeli army in Lebanon two years ago, the Israeli Defence Forces have been trying to win back their image as the only real defenders of the people in Israel. Now they are constantly provoking Syria in the hope that Syria will hit back, something it seems unwilling to do.

The recent dramatic events in the Gaza strip are a clear indication that the Zionist ruling class that governs Israel will never concede genuine national self-determination to the Palestinian masses. These events also confirm that on a capitalist basis there is no solution to the problem. On the Palestinian side neither Hamas nor Fatah offer a solution. We must base ourselves on the perspective of renewed class struggle across the whole of the Middle East.

The events in Gaza underline more than ever the barbarism that can emerge from the national conflict in Palestine. Israeli imperialism backed by the US is responsible for this bloody mess. So long as there is no genuine independent voice of the workers on both sides of the divide, we can expect nothing but more bloodshed.

George W. Bush has been visiting the Middle East. He is presently in Israel to try and promote his latest solution to the conflict: two capitalist states! These are all words, as US imperialism collaborates with the Israeli ruling class, as well as the rotten Arab regime, to hold down the masses throughout the Middle East.

We are publishing an article by Inge Eriksson, University lecturer in 'European studies with a historical orientation', at Malmö University, Sweden. The article analyses the roots and conditions that led to the Holocaust under Nazi Germany.

The mountain has laboured and borne a mouse. That would be a fitting epitaph for the Annapolis conference on Palestine. After four months of endless talks about talks Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, failed to obtain what Washington and Abbas desperately need: an agreement on at least the main points of a deal that would ultimately create a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israeli vice-premier Haim Ramon has suggested ceding Arab neighbourhoods to a future Palestinian state. This has divided the Israeli political establishment… obviously. But what it reflects is the pressure on the Zionist ruling elite to make at least some verbal concessions in an attempt to stabilise the situation.

A critical comment by Moroccan Marxists on the line of thought developed in the article, The victory of Hamas in Gaza and the questions facing Israeli and Palestinian workers by Yehuda Stern in Jerusalem, that we published on Wednesday, 11 July 2007. It is the opinion of the Editorial Board that the Moroccan Marxists are absolutely correct in their criticisms.

Many tears have been shed over the fall of Gaza under Hamas control. In reality what has happened is that the carefully prepared plans of imperialism have exploded in their face. They had bought off and corrupted the leaders of Fatah in order to get them to police the Palestinians for them. Because of this the Palestinian masses turned away from Fatah and embraced Hamas. So where do we go from here?

We are republishing this article by Yossi Schwartz on the War of 1967 to provide some background information to the recent events taking place in Gaza and the West Bank. Read the full article: Israel: The 1967 War

In the recent period the idea of boycotting Israeli academic institutions has been raised as a way of helping the struggle to defend the rights of the Palestinians. Comparisons have been made with the boycott of the old South African Apartheid regime. In South Africa it was the mass movement that brought down that regime, not the boycott. The same is true today as it was then.

The policy of imperialism is to provoke civil war among the Palestinians, hoping that Fatah can crush Hamas, but it is clear that Fatah is losing as it is seen as more and more a stooge of imperialism. That explains also why Israel is now intervening directly. These events serve to highlight once again that on the basis of capitalism there is no way out.

The crisis of the Israeli state is deepening. The rats have begun to abandon the sinking ship and are calling for the heads of Olmert and Peretz. Keen to save face and remain in power without having to face fresh elections, the ruling clique are prepared to sacrifice the current administration in order to form a new war cabinet.

War in Iraq has solved nothing for US imperialism. Equally Israel’s attempt to invade Lebanon last year also failed miserably. Every time imperialism tries to use the jackboot it merely serves to destabilise even further this already extremely unstable region. Now they are preparing for more wars…

Today another general strike of the public sector has started. The last one was called off after the courts issued an injunction. Now the pressure is piling up once more. The workers of Israel are making it clear where they stand. They deserve a leadership that is prepared to go all the way.

We publish a summarised version of an introductory speech on the Middle East given by Fred Weston at a recent meeting of the International Marxist Tendency. In answering some of the pessimists on the left he points out how imperialism is facing defeat in the region and highlights the enormous potential for class struggle.

The recent internecine fighting between different factions in Gaza has temporarily calmed down after an agreement was patched together to form a government of national unity. This will eventually break down as none of the pressing problems of the Palestinian people will be solved.

The recent opening of archive material clearly demonstrates that Israel used biological weapons against the Palestinian population back in 1948. Israel to this day does not abide by internationally recognised agreements on the use of such weapons. The US imperialists turn a blind eye to all this, as they have their own “weapons of mass destruction”.

A major strike took place in Israel yesterday, called by the Histadrut, over the issue of unpaid wages and siphoning off of workers' pension funds. The strike affected 200,000 public sector workers, uniting secular Jews, religious Jews, and Muslim and Christian Arabs all striking together against their exploiters. As the Marxists have always explained, the class struggle cuts across ethnic division, and offers the only path to a real solution of the problem.

After the humiliating exit from south Lebanon, the Israeli generals have turned on the lesser-armed Palestinians of Gaza. Their bombing solves nothing. It only exacerbates an already extremely unstable situation. The situation highlights the fact that this rotten Israeli ruling class can offer no solutions, but only create more problems.

In spite of our exhaustive response to the leaders of the Argentinean Partido Obrero some time ago, they periodically repeat the same distortions of our ideas. Earlier this year they concentrated their efforts on our analysis and proposals concerning the situation in Israel/Palestine. Here our Israeli comrades set the record straight.

Over the past couple of days 24 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. This follows a further shift to the right on the part of the Olmert government after the ultra-racist party of Lieberman joined the coalition. With these renewed attacks they are trying to distract the attention of the Israeli masses as it become abundantly clear that the country is in an impasse.

The whole of the Middle East has entered a crisis. Country after country is rocked by political, economic and military crises. The shockwaves of the recent war in Lebanon are still being felt. Imperialism seeks to manoeuvre in this situation to defend its strategic interests, but every step they take simply exacerbates the situation.

In spite of the claims of Israeli government ministers and top army generals, Israel did not win the recent war in Lebanon. It is Hezbollah that has emerged enormously strengthened, as the 800,000 strong rally the other day amply proved. All this is forcing the imperialists to rethink their strategy in the region.

The Israeli government and military failed in their declared objectives in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Israeli society is under shock as a result. Now while they say a new war needs to prepared, the government is preparing vicious attacks on social spending. This will inevitably prepare class conflict at some stage. Meanwhile on the Arab street the desire for a genuine left alternative is becoming evident.

The Israeli aggression against Lebanon ended in defeat. None of the objectives set by the Israeli Government were attained. The position of the Israeli ruling class has been weakened at home and abroad. The result of the conflict is also a setback for American Imperialism – as well as for French Imperialism – and has strengthened the position of the Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

Immediately following the ceasefire the government of Israel attempted to convince the Israeli population, and its friends abroad, that Israel had ‘won the war'. Now they are forced to beat a hasty retreat from such declarations, as no-one in Israel is stupid enough to swallow them.

The imperialists have been trying to force Lebanon to accept a diplomatic victory for Israel precisely because Israel cannot win this war by military means. The Israeli war cabinet on Wednesday gave approval in principle to the generals' plan for an expanded ground operation, but delayed its implementation in order to give a chance to the UN Security Council to draft a resolution that fits the rulers of Israel as a condition to end the crisis.

Lebanon has a long history, being one of the cradles of early civilisation, but it has been occupied by many different powers, the last being Isreal and Syria. Last time Israel occupied it it was eventually defeated and forced to leave because of the guerrilla war led by Hezbollah. It was Israel’s Vietnam. This is still a factor in understanding what is happening today.

The idea that Israel is a class divided society like any other is not often discussed within the left in the Arab world. Here the Moroccan Marxists have interviewed an Israeli Marxist on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, who explains the need for a socialist perspective and the struggle for internationalism and working class unity across borders.

The air strikes against Lebanon continue, as do the rockets being fired on Israel. The responsibility for the bloodshed and suffering of this new conflict lies first and foremost with the Israeli ruling class, who had clearly been preparing for such a scenario for some time.

Today we spoke with Yossi Schwartz in Haifa, one of the cities hit by Hizbollah rockets. Below we are providing the text of a conversation with him in which he describes the mood in the country and looks at the possible scenario that may unfold over the next few days.

The Israeli ruling class is using war in an attempt to solve its problems. They now risk opening up three fronts, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. It is a reflection of the deep crisis afflicting Israeli capitalism and Israeli society. Raising the socialist perspective is an urgent task in the whole region, if we want to avert the terrible barbarism that the ruling class is unleashing.

We received this article yesterday evening. It was written as the situation between Israel and Lebanon was escalating. The Israeli ruling class has decided on war to "solve" its problems. In reality it is opening up even greater problems destabilising the situation even further. The crisis of Israeli capitalism is dragging the peoples of the region to fratricidal war.

The Israeli military claim the 40 Palestinians killed since they re-invaded the Gaza Strip were all “militants”. In reality many civilians have been killed. The Israeli government is hell-bent on terrorising the Palestinian people into submission. It is achieving the opposite effect to that desired and opening up the beginnings of a major crisis for the Israeli ruling class.

The Israeli government refuses to consider the option of releasing Palestinian prisoners to get an Israeli soldier freed. And yet when a few years ago a friend of Sharon was captured he was prepared to release more than 400 Palestinian prisoners. This detail highlights how even in Israel there is one rule for the ordinary citizens and another for those at the top.

The first demand of the international labour movement, and of the Israeli working class, must be for the immediate withdrawal of the troops that were sent into Gaza overnight. Stop this present incursion now! And from there begin the struggle to transform society and put an end to the class and national divisions which are at the heart of the present conflict.

The Israeli Defence Force has amassed tanks and troops on the border with the Gaza Strip as the crisis over a kidnapped soldier deepens. For some time anyone who understands the mechanical logic of the Israeli government and its plans to reoccupy the Gaza Strip has known that the Israeli government has simply been looking for an excuse to move back in.

The cold-blooded killing of a Palestinian family as it was enjoying a day on the beach highlights the brutal methods used by the Israeli military. They are clearly trying to crush the spirit of the Palestinian people. They will achieve the opposite. With these methods the Israeli ruling class are preparing an unimaginable nightmare for all the people in the region.

Calls for boycotting Israeli academics and universities that do not disassociate themselves from the oppression of the Palestinian people have been growing in several unions internationally. How does this connect with the class struggle in Israel? Yossi Schwartz in Israel comments.

On his recent visit to the USA the newly elected Israeli premier, Ehud Olmert, made some very belligerent speeches which raise the spectre of the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It is in the interests of all workers in the region, Jewish, Arab, Kurdish, Iranian... to come together in an international struggle to overthrow the oppressors of all these peoples.

Recent armed clashes between Fatah forces and newly formed Hamas security forces reflect behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of imperialism to divide the Palestinian people with the hope of overthrowing the newly elected Hamas government. They are playing with fire.

In line with their class collaborationist position, the leaders of the Israeli Labour Party were not even prepared to organise the traditional May Day rallies, leaving it to other forces.

Very often among people who consider themselves Marxists there is a mechanical, non-dialectical approach to how capitalism comes into existence in any given country. They take Britain or France as their historical touchstones and judge everything from this angle. But the bourgeoisie in many different countries did not come into existence according to these classical models. Israel is one example.

The world was shocked at the recent terrorist act in Tel Aviv. What has to be highlighted however is the systematic pounding of Palestinian territory by the Israeli armed forces in the recent period. This finally produced the response of Jihad, which now plays into the hands of the Israeli government. Only a united working class can break this vicious cycle.

Kadima, the new party founded by Sharon, has emerged as the first party in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, but it will have to govern in a coalition. No party has an outright majority. Now the new Labour leadership has indicated it would serve in such a coalition. This means accepting anti-working class policies. In these conditions the Labour Party will come under immense pressure from the bosses and the workers, pulling in opposite directions.

Last week’s attack by the Israeli army on the prison in Jericho highlights the growing impasse in Israeli/Palestinian politics. Olmert, the interim leader of Sharon’s Kadima party is using the attack to boost his fortunes in the upcoming Israeli elections. At the same time Abu Mazen, the “friend” of the West is being exposed.

David Irving’s holocaust denial highlights one side of bourgeois reactionary propaganda; the recent anti-Islamic cartoons highlight another. It is all used to divide the workers and poor of the world. This is particularly clear in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Last week, the growing turbulence in the Middle East came to a head as protests erupted over the publication of cartoons picturing a caricature of the prophet Mohammed. The fact alone that all this happened more than five months after their actual publication in a Danish newspaper clearly shows that the publication was only the spark that lit the fuse. You cannot explain the present conflagration without looking at the underlying frustrations of the millions of Muslims all around the world.

The scenes of massacre and mayhem in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank have aroused general indignation and condemnation throughout the world. Almost one hundred people - almost all of them Palestinians - have so far been killed by the Israeli army of occupation.

Hamas’ ascent to power has been a concluding result of an ongoing process that should be analysed against the background of the events spanning decades, not only in Israel/Palestine but also the whole region and the world. Here Nadim al-Mahjoub, an Arab Marxist, gives his interpretation of the situation.

The Israeli Marxists had predicted the victory of Hamas some time ago. They understood how discredited Fatah had become among the Palestinian people and the only credible alternative they could turn to was Hamas. They also explain that Hamas will be sucked into the so-called “peace process” and will end up being exposed. All this will eventually help the Palestinian workers and youth to draw revolutionary Marxist conclusions.

The shift to the left in Israel and in the Labour Party has not dropped from the sky. This shift is rooted in these struggles of the past period. Looking at the struggles of the last 10 years, we can see that the working class was willing to struggle against privatization and the austerity measures of the Israeli ruling class. This has now found its reflection in the Labour Party.

A comment on the background of Ariel Sharon, an army man involved in terrible crimes against the Palestinian people who went on to become Prime Minister of Israel. From this position, which he still holds, he continued to oppress the Palestinians, while also attacking the workers of Israel.

Sharon is seriously ill and may never return to active politics. This has thrown the whole of the Israeli establishment into turmoil, as now a question mark is being placed above the party he founded a few weeks ago, Kadima. Society is so polarized that one man can balance at the top. Without him the balancing game may not hold for long.

The election of the new leader of the Israeli Labour Party, Amir Peretz, has been described as a political earthquake, which indeed it is. Peretz has a reputation of being a left, militant trade union leader. Now he is coming under immense pressure from both the left and the right, which reflects the growing class conflict within Israeli society.

On December 5 a suicide bomber blew himself up in Natanya, Israel, killing several civilains. As we warned a few days ago, one of the instruments Sharon can use in whipping up anti-Arab sentiments among the Jews in Israel is precisely this kind of attack on civilians. It comes conveniently for Sharon at a time when the working class is moving to the left!

The change of leadership at the top of the Israeli Labour Party is still sending shockwaves throughout the whole of Israeli society. Now the new leader will come under immense pressure. Sharon with his new party is also manoeuvring. He can play the game of provoking further conflicts with the Palestinians to re-enforce the siege mentality among the Jews and he can try and trap Labour in a new coalition. These are the two dangers facing Israeli workers.

Last week the leader of the Histadrut, Amir Peretz ousted Shimon Peres from the leadership of the Israeli Labour Party. It was like a small earthquake in the political system of Israel, as Peretz has been promising to undo many of the cuts in the welfare state and has threatened to pull the Labour Party out of the coalition with the Likud.

Divisions have clearly emerged between different wings of the Israeli ruling class. These are reflected within the Likud, the main party of the Israeli bourgeoisie. These divisions are important signals of something that is stirring deeper within Israeli society. The ruling class is divided because it can see two dangers on the horizon, the class struggle in Israel and intensified opposition from the Palestinian community.

There is clearly a conflict between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Sharon has an interest in fomenting this further as a divided Palestinian community would be much easier to control. In the past Israel backed the formation of Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO. Now the opposite is the case and Israel is leaning on the PLO to curb the influence of Hamas.

Over the weekend Israeli aircraft have been involved in bombing the Gaza Strip. Israel has withdrawn its troops on the ground but it can bomb the area any time it wants. It shows how false were the ideas of those who claimed withdrawal from Gaza was a step towards a solution to the conflict.

Two days ago Mussa Arafat (the cousin of the late Yasser Arafat) was assassinated after a 45-minute shoot out. While all this was going on no police turned up, which indicates that someone at the top wanted his removal. Who and what is behind this killing?

We publish this article by Yossi Schwartz on the War of 1967 to provide some background information to the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Dostoyevsky wrote, “That a country should be judged by its prisons”, and that unfortunately still holds today. But nowadays one should also add, “And its health service”.

Dear Editor,

I read the following on the BBC’s web site: “An Israeli soldier accused of shooting a British cameraman dead has been cleared by a judge of any wrongdoing. James Miller was killed in 2003 at the age of 34, as he filmed a documentary in the Rafah refugee camp. Israel had already said the soldier – known only as Lt H – would not be prosecuted over the death.” Having read the article it made my blood boil so I had to say something.

The election of Ehud Barak as Israel's new prime minister was heralded as a new breakthrough aimed at ending "the 100 year conflict" in the Middle East. Barak promised to withdraw from Lebanon in 15 months and honour the Wye river agreement by October. However the situation simply marks a new stage in the conflict between Zionism and imperialism and the Arab masses.

Once again, the Middle East "peace process" hangs by a thread. The recent riots and gun battles throughout the West Bank and Gaza, which left hundreds wounded and a number dead, reveal the enormous frustration at the results of the "peace process" and the failure to end years of Israeli occupation.

After 22 years of the military occupation of South Lebanon, Israel's withdrawal marks an important change in the situation. Fred Weston looks at the history of Israel's occupation, the current state of the "peace process" and outlines an internationalist way forward.

He gives his interpretation of the situation, together with an account of how Jews have been patrolling Arab neighbourhoods to defend the Arabs against possible attacks from right-wing Jewish reactionaries. There is also an appeal from an Israeli activist who has suffered beatings at the hands of the Israeli police.

In the aftermath of the events unfolding in the Palestinian territories after 28th september we launched a Palestinian Socialist Students Solidarity Campaign. We now know that three of these Palestinian students are among those that have been killed. Below you will a letter we have received from palestine about these three victims.

It is URGENT we step up the solidarity campaign with the Palestinian Socialist Students. The Israeli army have targeted this organisation among the Palestinians, obviously because of its left and socialist orientation. As you know this is a Student Union organisation. It is called the USSC, Union of Secondary Student Committees. It has a Socialist orientation, and takes a militant stance.

We republish here these two articles by Yacov Ben Efrat, from the Challenge Magazine which give a very interesting analysis of the current uprising in the Occupied Territories and amongst the Arabs in Israel

We republish here these two articles by Yacov Ben Efrat, from the Challenge Magazine which give a very interesting analysis of the current uprising in the Occupied Territories and amongst the Arabs in Israel.

This is a letter from the Palestinian Socialist Students on the question of Arafat and the Arab leaders.

While the number of Palestinians killed in the present Intifada reaches nearly 300, Arafat is attempting to change the aims of the struggle. He is hoping for some form of compromise with the Israeli government that will allow him to bring the Intifada to an end. But the conditions on the ground do not allow for a quick solution. Now Arafat is placing his hopes in the United Nations. Decades of experience show that this is not a solution. The Palestinian masses can only have confidence in their own ability to struggle, together with the support of the workers of the whole of the Middle East.

We are reproduced some correspondence we had with a group of revolutionary Palestinian youth in January of this year. We have decided to publish it now in view of the recent events, because it clearly explains our position on individual terrorism and the tactics of the Intifada. The events of the last few days merely serve to underline the counterproductive nature of individual terrorism, which have, as the letter of Fred Weston explains, always led the Palestinians to defeat.

The landslide victory of right-winger Ariel Sharon in the Israeli elections opens a new and convulsive period in the history of the Middle East. Barak's administration has been a complete disaster from every point of view. Under the pressure of US imperialism he attempted to reach a "compromise" with Arafat and the PLO leadership. As we predicted from the start, the Oslo agreement broke down. The problem is an insoluble one on a capitalist basis. Far from improving, the situation went from bad to worse. The farce of "peace" has ended. The Oslo agreement, already a stinking corpse, has now been officially buried.

The Israeli ruling class were disappointed with the political results of the September 11 terrorist act. Contrary to their hopes, the American government did not include any Palestinian group on their list of "main terrorist organisations". Just two days after the terror attack in the USA, the Israeli military launched a brutal attack against the Palestinians. This was closely followed by the assassination of an Israeli minister, Rachavam Zeevi. Our correspondent reports on the situation.

A. Kramer sends us an update on the internal situation in Israel. He calls for a united front of stuggle to be built that can challenge reactionary Israeli imperialism and create the conditions for a profound transformation of the whole situation. That is the only hope for the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.

In Israel things are beginning to change. On February 16, over 20,000 people demonstrated for peace. The demonstration was addressed by both Israeli and Palestinian speakers. What was even more significant was the presence of a delegation of the approximately 250 Israeli soldiers (including officers) who have refused to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. More than 400 Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the Palestinian territories, and the number is growing daily. One opinion poll has revealed that 31% of the Israeli population supports these protesting soldiers.

Israel is now using its full might to oust Arafat and drown the Palestinian uprising in blood. On Friday, March 29: Israel launched an all-out drive against the Palestinian areas, smashing into Yasser Arafat's West Bank base, killing seven Palestinians, arresting more than 70 and unleashing a new wave of blood and destruction.

The general crisis of capitalism is expressing itself as a general instability everywhere. Nowhere has this had more destabilising effects than the Middle East. This instability is being fuelled and exacerbated by US imperialism, which has decided that it is free to intervene anywhere it likes under the pretext of the so-called war against terrorism. Ariel Sharon is calling his new military campaign a war against terror. And while it is self-evident that Bush gave him the green light to launch his attack on the Palestinian Authority, Washington is now becoming alarmed at the consequences.

On June 15 Israeli bulldozers began to dig trenches for the building of a fence that will separate Israel from the West Bank. One of our Israeli correspondents comments on the plans to build a huge fence separating Israel from the Palestinian territories.

5000 Palestinians who used to work in Israel and have been unemployed for the past 22 months since the Gaza Strip was sealed off, have been demanding that the Palestinian Authority provide them with either regular unemployment payments or alternative work.

Styling themselves on the American organisation of the same name, the Black Panthers campaigned against discrimination and oppression of Sephardic Jews who had emigrated from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The movement led to brutal clashes with the state. The peak of the confrontation between the Panthers and the authorities was in 1972, when 60 people were arrested on the May Day demonstration where they had chanted slogans not just against poverty but against the annexation of Arab lands.

What was the real role of British imperialism in the formation of the state of Israel? What position did the Soviet Union and US imperialism take at the time? And how did the PLO leaders pose the question of the struggle against Israel in the past? What solution can Marxists offer both the Palestinian and Jewish workers In this brief article we try to answer these questions and develop a perspective.

An answer to those who argue that the German and Austrian people have a "collective responsibility" for the Holocaust. The German and Austrian people themselves, and especially the proletariat that was lied to, betrayed and sold out by the Stalinists, the Socials-Democrats and the bourgeois parties, have no guilt to bear. The capitalists push this idea in order to cover up for the responsibility of capitalism in this terrible crime and also to hide the fact that millions of German and Austrian workers were opposed to Hitler, and many Socialists, Communists and Trade Union activists also died in his camps.

We have received this letter from a worker in Israel which highlights the injustices suffered by the Arab workers under Israeli rule and also the impasse ordinary working class Israelis are facing.

The new Israeli elections that will be held on January 28, 2003 highlight the deep political crisis that has paralysed the Israeli political system. The elections come at a time of deepening economy crisis. At the same time no solution is in sight to the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territories. A.Kramer in Israel explains that Israeli workers can expect nothing from the main contenders in these elections and stresses the need for a working class based socialist alternative.

An update on the build up to the forthcoming elections in Israel. The Likud party has been hit by corruption scandals. The Labour Party in the past has also been affected by such scandals. This highlights the corrupt nature of the whole regime.

Sharon's victory in yesterday's Israeli elections was a foregone conclusion. The Israeli right wing's position in the Knesset [Israeli parliament] has now been consolidated as never before. A superficial examination of these voting patterns would indeed lead to a very pessimistic view of the situation. But if we look a little closer at the process a different picture emerges. On the basis of a closer analysis no one can say that all the Israeli people voted for Sharon! Far from it!

As the attention of the world is focused on the war in Iraq another war is breaking out in Israel - the class war. The past two years have seen Israel thrown into a severe economic crisis. As a consequence, a few days ago Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced huge cuts from government spending.

Israel is not a member of the powerful coalition, (which includes such giants as Micronesia, Estonia and the Solomon islands) that has gone "to liberate" Iraq under American leadership. Bush and Sharon in fact have no interest in reminding people of the role of Israeli in this war.

On Sunday, March 30, 50,000 ministry employees started what amounts to a work-to-rule (a work ban) in Israel. The following day a further 100,000 municipal workers came out on strike, and have stayed out. They came out in protest against government plans to make drastic cuts of around $2.3 billion (11 billion shekels) in public spending.

Last week we reported on the growing tensions between the Sharon government and the Israeli trade unions. It looked as if a general strike was about to be called, but last minute deals were being made to avert it.

The Zionist ruling elite of Israel has for a long time attempted to maintain the myth that Israel is a safe haven for Jews, (which it obviously is not, as many years of conflict have clearly revealed). They tray and blur class divisions and unite Jews from all classes as a "nation" defending itself against the outside "enemy" (the Arabs). But the real Israel is quite different.

Some on the left still maintain the myth that Stalin was "a great fighter against world Zionism". In reality his policy on this question was a zig-zagging one that went from support for Zionism to outright anti-Semitism. A Kramer, in Israel, unravels the truth.

Constantin Soskin is one in a long series of young Israelis who have refused to serve in the army. So far more than one thousand Israeli youth have refsued to be conscripted. Thus the term "refusenik" was coined. He is presently serving a jail sentence because of his refusal, together with several others.

The Israeli Labour Party (Avodah in Hebrew) has been in long-term decline. A. Kramer, in Israel, looks at the background and the reasons behind this decline and points out that opportunities are opening up for a genuine left force in Israeli society.

Millions of Jews died tragically in the Nazi extermination camps. But little is know of the manoeuvres that were taking place around this question in Britain and the US, in particular on the part of the Zionist lobby. Rather than take measures that may have saved large numbers of German and Eastern European Jews the Zionists were only prepared to accept measures that would facilitate emigration of Jews to Palestine. Yossi Schwarz in Israel unveils what really happened and also underlines the despicable role of US and British imperialism at the time.

The Zionists have always tried to block any attempts at Arab-Jewish workers' unity. However during the decades leading up to the formation of the state of Israel there were many examples of Arab and Jewish workers coming together in mixed workplaces and even attempts to build joint unions. Thus history denies the myth that no such unity is possible. What is true is that the nationalists on both sides (Jewish and Arab) did everything to thwart such moves.

Yossi Schwartz continues his outline of the history of labour struggles in Palestine in the first half of the 20th century, underlining the instinctive move towards unity on the part of both Jewish and Arab workers and the constant manoeuvring on the part of the Zionist leaders (with a mirror image among the Arab nationalists) to break down this unity.

An interesting insight into the terrible psychological damage the Palestinian-Israeli conflicting is having on the children who are growing up in the region.

The Road Map for "peace" in the Middle East emerged as part of the shift in the world situation after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The war on Afghanistan and afterwards the war and occupation of Iraq created the conditions in which US imperialism, aided by British imperialism and with the silence of the European Union, was able to intervene in the development of the historic conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arab people.

Vicki Knafo, a single mother,  recently walked all the way to Jerusalem from her home in Mitzpeh Ramon, a poor town in Southern Israel, to protest against the government's welfare cuts. Her case has become a symbol of determined struggle against the government's austerity measures and has highlighted the plight of many working class people in Israel.

The supporters of In Defence of Marxism circle, denounce the arrest of members in the leadership of Abnaa el-Balad movement (the Sons of the country). We call upon all those who genuinely seek to defend the very basic democratic rights in this country, and first of all the Communist party, its youth movement and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), by taking the lead for organizing united front actions in defence of Abnaa el-Balad.

Hamas has emerged as a force in the Palestinian Territories and has recently hit the headlines because of a spate of suicide bombings. This article looks at the origins of this movement. It recalls how in the past, when it suited them, the Israeli authorities tried to use Hamas as a counterbalance to the influence of the PLO. Now it has become a source of further instability.

On August 20 there was a bloody suicide attack on bus No.2 in the heart of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem which took the lives of 20 innocent Israelis and injured over 100. With a little delay we are publishing this report sent to us from Israel.

The resignation of Abu Mazen delivered a blow to the U.S. and Israel. The Israeli government has reacted furiously, deciding "in principle" to expel Arafat from Palestine. This threat last night brought thousands of Palestinians onto the streets to rally to his defence. The decision of the Israeli government could achieve the opposite effect to that desired, provoking an escalating spiral of bitter confrontation. Yossi Schwartz in Israel analyses the situation.

Only a few days ago the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon seemed to believe that his dream of removing, or even killing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was going to become true within just a few days. But the US has stopped the Israeli government, for now. A forced removal of Arafat would cause a great destabilization of the region, a thing that US imperialism cannot accept.

Yesterday the Histadrut trade union federation in Israel formally announced a labour dispute in Israel's public sector. At the end of a 15-day "cooling off" period, some 700,000 workers will be legally entitled to take strike action. Our correspondent in Israel analyses the situation and interviews Binyamin Gonen, a longstanding member of the Political Committee of the Communist Party of Israel and is political front DFPE-Hadash. Gonen was for many years also a member of the leadership of the party's faction in the Histadrut.

Last week twenty seven Israeli pilots signed a public declaration in which they announced their refusal to participate in missions of "targeted killings" and assassinations in the West Bank and Gaza strip. The government and the ruling class are in panic. The letter of the pilots has undermined the legitimacy of the war crimes committed by the Zionists in the Occupied Territories.

Once again Sharon and Co have provoked the working class in Israel with further dismissals of workers in the public sector in an open violation of the agreement that was reached last May. On Monday, some 50,000 civil servants launched an open-ended work-to-rule. Additionally, hospital workers are preparing to join the strike after Yom Kippur.

The recent suicide bombing in Haifa which killed 19 people and wounded 45 has been used by the Sharon government as an excuse to hit Syria with an air strike. In spite of the fact that Syria closed Hamas and Jihad bases in an attempt to appease US imperialism, the Israeli government has carried out this provocative attack. Obviously Sharon has his own agenda. Yossi Schwartz in Israel analyses what this new development implies and offers a socialist perspective and solution to the conflict.

Recent suicide bomb attacks in Israel have been used by Sharon as an excuse to attack Syria. Sharon is clearly distracting attention away from his own internal problems. But there is clearly a section of the Israeli ruling class, backed by at least a part of the US bourgeois, who would like to wage war on Syria. Leon Cohen of the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in Israel/Palestine looks at the background to this situation and offers a socialist way out of the impasse.

This month marked the 30th anniversary of the 1973 Middle East war. Thirty years after that war ended some of the Agranat Committee's findings have been published in Israel that shed a new light on those events. They reveal the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres between the Soviet Union and the USA and also how the then government of Israel hid many important facts from its own people about what was really going on.

The recent Geneva Accords on the Middle East crisis have provoked a hysterical reaction on the part of Ariel Sharon who lashed out at the signatories of the Geneva initiative in a stormy start to the winter session of the Knesset on Monday of last week. Yossi Schwartz and Leon Cohen, in Israel, explain what lies behind this latest development.

In the last few months we have heard a lot about the Geneva plan that supposedly represents a breakthrough in the "Peace process" in the Middle East. In reality this plan reflects the growing contradictions between the interests of European imperialism and American imperialism and its "Road map". Moreover, the Geneva Accord is a simple sell out of the Palestinian people's aspirations to be free and to live normal lives.

In the light of the recent increase in anti-semitic activities in Europe and beyond, Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem, looks at the origins of the Jewish people, separating myth from documented historical fact. This is a reply both to the racist anti-semites and also to the official myth constructed by the Zionists. 

Yossi Schwartz looks at the real reasons behind the recent exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah.

The presidential elections in the US will take place on November 2, and Bush is not doing very well. According to the latest opinion polls his popularity is sinking daily and if the elections were to take place today he would lose. Big surprise. The war in Iraq is becoming unpopular as the death toll is growing. In such a period Bush needs all the help he can get and his soul mate Ariel Sharon is trying his best to support his old buddy. This is in part is what is behind Sharon's latest declarations about unilateral retreat, following the official collapse of the "Road Map".

We have just received information about the arrest in Israel of the General Secretary of the Abnaa elBalad movement, Comrade Muhammad Kana'ane, of the central committee member Comrade Husam Kana'ane and the editorial secretary of the elJeel elJadeed magazine Comrade Sahar 'Abdu. We are asking our readers to sign this statement demanding their release.

We have received this letter from Mordachai Peargut in Israel, a working class pensioner, who reflects on the state of Israel, the Middle East and the manoeuvres of US imperialism.

Today the International Court of Justice in the Hague has opened its hearing on the legality of Israel's wall that has been built in the last few months in the occupied West Bank and would leave Palestinians isolated in enclaves in only part of the West Bank. Let us make no mistake about this wall, what the government of Israel is doing is basically building Ghettos for the Palestinians. These walls should come down.Yet the question is how and by whom? And this question is related to other questions: Can we get justice in the Hague?

Sharon’s proposal to “withdraw” from Gaza do not represent a step towards a solution to the conflict in the Middle East, but rather hide manoeuvres on the part of the Israeli government. It is a cynical game played out at the expense of both the Israeli and Arab masses.

The idea of a bi-national state solution has become fashionable among some circles in Israel/Palestine. Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains that on the basis of capitalism, with unemployment, bad housing, low wages and discrimination, neither the two-state nor the single bi-national state proposals can work. The only solution can be found within an overall Socialist Federation of the Middle East.

This morning's criminal killing of Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, leader of Hamas, in Gaza, on the partb of the Israeli military will only serve to provoke more terrorist attacks on Israel. It will make the hellish spiral of tit-for-tat suicide bombings followed by state repression even worse. The Palestinian and Israel workers will be the ones to suffer. Only the working class on boths sides can offer a way out of this nightmare.

More than 20,000 people participated today in the central Land Day Demonstration - 'Yowm al Ard' in Arabic - (marching from the Palestinian village of Sakhnin to Arabeh), protesting against the land confiscations, house demolitions, the arrest of the leadership of the Islamic movement and of the Abnaa elBalad movement, the Occupation, the Apartheid wall and the assassinations of Palestinian leaders.

A letter sent to the Israeli Finance Ministry, pleading for help for the poor and disabled who attend a help centre in Israel. It highlights the plight of an ever growing layer of poor in Israeli society.

Yesterday, March 29, we received this statement from the Abnaa elBalad movement in Israel. Their leaders are still in prison “awaiting trial” and have now started a hunger strike to protest at the terrible conditions they are having to suffer.

We have just received this appeal from the Abna elBalad movement. In spite of appealing - and going on hunger strike - the imprisoned leaders of this movement are still being held in terrible conditions.

Yossi Schwartz looks at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan and why George W. Bush, and now Tony Blair, as well as many inside Israel support it. The unilateral plan is presented as a means to solve the endless crisis and bring about peace and stability in the region. But beneath the road to the implementation of the Sharon Plan there lie two big landmines - the settlers and the Palestinian masses.

The assassination of Hamas' Gaza leader Abd Al-Aziz al-Rantisi by Israel on Saturday, April 22, is the second such act of state terror against the leadership of the Islamist movement in less than a month. This is unlikely to weaken Hamas's popularity among the Palestinian people. Moreover, the open support of the Bush administration for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's expansionistic designs in the West Bank will make the powder keg not only in Gaza but in the entire region even more volatile

As we predicted so many times over the last few months, Sharon’s “disengagement" plan from Gaza is leading us directly to hell. The plan was supposed to lead to a troop withdrawal from most of Gaza and the removal of all 21 settlements while at the same time annexing large territories in the West Bank. It was never a step towards general withdrawal. In reality it was a manoeuvre to steal even more land from the Palestinians. As soon as it was clear that the withdrawal plan had been rejected by Sharon's own Likud party, the Israeli army intensified its attacks on the West Bank and Gaza.

Periodically tensions rises between Israel and Syria. Bush has enough problems in Iraq and looks worryingly on developments between the two countries, but Sharon may have other ideas. Yossi Schwartz looks at where this situation may lead.

More than 150,000 people took part in a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on May 15, that called on the government to pull out of Gaza and start peace talks. Ironically Sharon, who failed to get his plan accepted by his own party, the Likud, has found support among the Zionist left. Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains this apparent contradiction.

Thousands of residents from the southern Gaza town of Rafah, home to 140,000 people, have fled their homes in recent days, fearing that the Israeli army will demolish their homes as the army of occupation continues to terrorize the people of Gaza. Far from withdrawing, the Israeli army is now trying to crush the Palestinian people.

"So comrades and workers, the world may look like it is in a terrible state now. But it must get better, and it is only through the collective power of the working class that it can. They say he/she who has the last laugh, laughs longest. We the workers, the downtrodden, must have the last laugh, or we are doomed." A comment from Mordachai Peargut in Israel.

The Israeli army has continued its bloodletting in the occupied Gaza Strip refugee camp of Rafah. Many pious words calling for restraint have been expressed by the governments of the West, but nobody is going to lift a finger to stop Sharon. It is only through the struggle of the workers in the whole region that a solution can be found.

"The people are fed up here and around the world, and a change must be in the offing." From Mordachai Peargut, Israel.

In the last few days the masses in many parts of the Middle East have been pouring out onto the streets in protest against the murder of civilians in Iraq and Gaza. They have been coming out emboldened by the feeling that the killing machine of the occupying armies in Iraq and Gaza can be defeated. Yossi Schwartz, just returned from one of these protests in Rafah (Gaza) looks at the effects throughout the Middle East and in particular in Israel.

Tuesday's bomb attacks in Be'er Sheva could not have come at a better time for Sharon. He immediately used them to distract attention away from a few problems he was having at the beginning of the week. But why has Hamas suddenly returned to this kind of attack? Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains.

We recently received this report, which shows how the Israeli state deals with anyone - even if they are Jewish - who dares to take up the plight of the Palestinians in the refugee camps in a serious manner. Tali Fahima is being held without any charges, with her arrest being extended continuously.

In spite of only having minority support in the Knesset, Sharon holds on to power. This is because both the left and the right continue to support him, for they cannot offer an alternative. That alternative can only come from the working class.

A general strike in the public sector in Israel has been called in protest against the non-payment of wages and the proposed 2005 budget cuts. The strike is affecting all government ministries, municipal authorities, state-owned companies and transportation, including the national airline El Al. Refuse collection workers, traffic wardens, dockworkers, railway, telecom, electricity and hospital workers are also involved. Once again, it reflects the serious class divide that is opening up in Israeli society.

This is the seventh day of “Operation Days of Penitence” that has killed at least 70 Palestinians, many of them women and children. This is the largest operation in the Gaza Strip in the four years since the beginning of this Intifada.

Anyone who examines the situation of the Middle East, not in each country separately but as a whole, must come to the conclusion that the days of social and economic stability are definitely over. Instead of economic stability we have crisis. Instead of peace we are caught in the crossfire between the imperialists’ state terror and the individual terror of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Arafat is seriously ill. His days are clearly numbered now. Yossi Schwartz in Jerusalem explains how this will affect the balance of forces within the Fatah movement and how this will open up more room for Hamas. It also marks the beginning of a new period in which Hamas will be called on to stabilise the situation, thus exposing itself before the Palestinian masses.

After a week in hospital, lying in a coma and suffering from a brain haemorrhage, President of the Palestinian National Authority Yasser Arafat has finally died. Yossi Schwartz, writing from Jerusalem, comments on his career.

Following the announcement regarding the selection of the new leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, the government of Israel signalled a possible shift in policy toward the Authority. The new PA leadership seems keen to collaborate with Sharon. The only thing this proves is that those who in the past promised to liberate Palestine through the tactics of guerrilla war, which turned into terrorism, are ready to sell out.

It is common among some groups on the left to portray Israel as not being a “democracy”. Bourgeois politicians on the other hand say that Israel is the only “true democracy” in the Middle East. None of this serves to understand the real nature of Israel. The Middle East Panorama show on Resonance FM radio (London) sent Yossi Schwartz in Israel a list of questions relating to this issue. Some parts of this were read out on the show. Here we provide the full interview. See also in Arabic: هل إسرائيل دولة ديمقراطية؟

The media around the world made a big deal out of yesterday’s summit, saying this time there is a real chance for peace in the Middle East. But everything which was said and agreed to yesterday was more or less the same as the agreements of the past, none of which worked. This summit will end like the others, in failure. It is a film we have seen before.

The Sharon government is held together by a shaky coalition of parties. In the past period some have left, bringing his government close to collapse. Now Labour has come to the rescue. With it it brings the leadership of the Histadrut, the trade union federation. It is an attempt to hold back the inevitable explosion of class struggle which will come in the next period.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

On January 9, Palestinians living in the occupied territories will elect the president of the Palestinian Authority. At the end of January the Iraqis living under the Anglo-American imperialist occupation will elect a new puppet government. In the present conditions that actually exist in both countries the idea that these elections will somehow be “free and fair” is somewhat of a joke, and a rather bad one at that.

In both the Palestinian Territories and in Iraq the imperialists are trying to get their stooges elected. In both there is growing opposition and the plans of the imperialists are proving to be more difficult to put in place. They may get the men they want elected, but they can’t convince the masses that life is getting any better. By Yossi Schwartz (December 24, 2004)

Ms. Tali Fahima, a peace activist from Kiryat-Gat suspected of contacting the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, Zakariya Zbeide, was arrested on August 8, 2004, and turned over to the GSS. The interrogation methods used against her include: sleep deprivation, food deprivation, painful handcuffing to a chair for long periods and sexual harassment.

The right-wing Sharon government’s construction of the ‘security fence’ continues unabated. Despite the ruling of the International Court of Jurists, despite the UN General Assembly’s resolution, despite breaching Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, despite world public opinion, the Zionist state is using the current international balance of forces to maximise its dominance over the Palestinians. For despite token protests that are meant for public consumption, US imperialism is fully backing its closest ally in the world. And all that the other imperialist powers are willing to offer are verbal ‘concerns’ and diplomatic ‘protests’ against the most vicious and aggressive moves of the Israeli state against the defenceless Palestinian masses.

House demolitions in the Occupied Territories…

The suffering of the Palestinian people is assuming tremendous dimensions. Not only have they been denied a homeland for over half a century, forced to live in refugee camps, but now they are also facing a second expulsion. The Israeli army regularly appears before the houses of Palestinians and within a moment’s notice declare that they are going to bulldoze them.

While Sharon has plenty of money to spend on bombing the Palestinian people and on building a wall to steal more of their land, inside Israel itself another war is going on, the war of the rich against the poor. Poverty levels have shot up and many of Israel’s Jews are living in terrible conditions. This is particularly true of the newly arrived immigrants. Many Jews left Russia thinking they would find a better life in Israel. Instead what they find is degrading and humiliating conditions. The government has been systematically attacking welfare and health.

Dear comrades,

This year there were three events of May Day. The first one in Nazareth around 4 thousands people, 99 % Arab Palestinians citizens of Israel. About 3000 of them young people of the YCL most of them under the influence of Hadash leadership led by MP Mohammad Barake. There were about 50 Jews of them 30 or so Jews of the YCL who marched as a small block. There  many red flags and shirts with pictures of Che. There were not too many written slogans. The chanting was focused against Sharon's plan.

Dear Comrades,

First I want to thank you for putting up my article. What you say in the forward about bringing the atomised individuals like myself together and transforming them into a genuine socialist opposition within Israel, is my dream, but alas we are far and few between.

Yesterday the Histadrut trade union federation in Israel formally announced a labour dispute in Israel's public sector. At the end of a 15-day "cooling off" period, some 700,000 workers will be legally entitled to take strike action.

After months of playing a game the likes of which have few comparisons in modern history, the war in Iraq is now a reality. From a personal point of view I gave a sigh of relief. This may sound callous, but living in Israel one is more or less on the front line, and the tension for me had reached a point where it was almost unbearable. So now the mighty war truck of the United States will go forward eventually achieving its object, with the British van bringing up the rear. No doubt Tony Blair will be rewarded with a few miserable rebuilding contracts, like a begging dog being thrown half eaten food from the dinner table.

On May Day this year in Tel-Aviv there was an impressive demonstration which shows that the left is growing. Nobody had expected such a large turnout. On previous May Day demonstrations only a few hundred took part. This year on the streets of Israel's main city 5,000 left activists marched. The column moved from the Tel-Aviv museum to the building of the Histadrut union. The people chanted slogans against Netanyahu's economic plan and Sharon's aggressive policy. The public and many foreign workers from local buildings welcomed the demonstration. There were also a lot of policemen and special service people with cameras. They filmed the demonstration.

Last week we reported on the growing tensions between the Sharon government and the Israeli trade unions. It looked as if a general strike was about to be called, but last minute deals were being made to avert it. In the end the Histadrut leaders climbed down and called off the action, in response to a Ministry of Finance agreement to open negotiations with the unions.

On Sunday, March 30, 50,000 ministry employees started what amounts to a work-to-rule (a work ban) in Israel. The following day a further 100,000 municipal workers came out on strike, and have stayed out. They came out in protest against government plans to make drastic cuts of around $2.3 billion (11 billion shekels) in public spending. Civil servants will have to suffer a 10% pay cut if the government programme goes ahead. It could also mean 10,000 sackings and further attacks on public pensions.

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